In this blog post, I aim to explore how to spark imaginations and inspire learning about sport and culture using research, creative thinking and visual arts.
A new project or topic always begins with research for me. I love putting visual boards together, getting the full picture and seeing what ideas naturally emerge from this exploratory process.
I begin by making a pinterest board - gathering all manner of information and visuals from around the world into one useful pot.
I’ll emerge feeling inspired and educated, with all kinds of images buzzing around my head - from colourful world flags, bejewelled carnival masks, stylish retro Olympic posters, stunning architecture, to the natural wonders of the Rainforest.
When I asked a group of Year 2 children what excited them most about the forthcoming Rio Olympics in Brazil, the most popular reply was,
‘What kind of athlete would I be if I was in the Olympic Games?’
Kids always give great answers! This got me thinking of all kinds of questions that I could ask the class. I realised how much we could imagine, explore and learn about the world from this one simple question.
An idea began to form around designing an activity, ‘My Olympic Story’ in the form of an illustrated questionnaire.
Close your eyes and imagine that you are a World Class athlete who will be participating in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. You will travel from your country to Brazil to compete in your sport. Afterwards you will have time to soak up the carnival atmosphere and cultural sites of Rio, sample the local food and then visit the Amazon Rainforest before returning home.
1. What is your Olympic sport?
2. What country do you represent?
3. How many miles will you travel to Rio?
4. What method of transport will you use?
5. How many hours will the journey take?
6. Describe your training programme
7. What sportswear do you wear when competing?
8. What equipment do you use?
9. Describe your mascot ?
10. What healthy foods do you need to eat to get Olympic fit?
11. Do you hope to win a medal?
12. How will you celebrate in Rio or Sao Paulo after you have competed?
13. What monuments, buildings or sculptures will you visit in Rio?
14. What Brazilian foods are you looking forward to tasting?
15. What insects, birds or animals do you hope to see when you visit the rainforest?
The research work and questionnaire activity could be completed in class time or set as homework, depending on the age of the children taking part.
Afterwards, it might be fun for the class to work in pairs or to set up a TV or radio programme at the front of the class, where athletes are ‘interviewed’ and tell their story.
How many sports and countries will be represented by your class?
I’d love to know!
Please see Diane's resources on this topic:
1. ‘My Olympic Story’ an illustrated questionnaire is free to download
2. Olympic Torch Art and Design Activity sheet is free to download
3. A 30 page Bumper Olympic activity pack including classroom decorations, creative templates from fun stuff to sportswear design
If you wish to see other resources created by Diane please visit her TES shop:
Links to resources
1. Full of useful facts about Brazil
2. Most popular and fastest growing Olympic sports
3. Calculate your journey distance to Rio
4. The history of the Olympics
5. 10 facts about the Rainforest
The Olympic Creed has appeared on the scoreboard during Opening Ceremony at every modern Olympic games.
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well."
I hope you found this post useful, enjoy the Rio Olympics and have a great summer!
Diane Pagan is an artist who has 13 years’ experience teaching children about art and design to help them complete creative group projects in primary and secondary schools.